President Obama told reporters in Wales today that he’s been preoccupied by dealing with ISIS, but expects to decide what executive action he wants to take on immigration reform “fairly soon.”
Congress comes into session next week. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has been gathering petition signatures on his website to “stop the president’s pro-amnesty agenda.”
“I have to tell you that this week I’ve been pretty busy, focused on Ukraine, and focused on ISIL, and focused on making sure that NATO is — is boosting its commitments and following through on what’s necessary to meet 21st-century challenges,” Obama said at today’s press conference when asked if he was going to press forward with an executive order with midterm elections just two months away.
“Jeh Johnson and Eric Holder have begun to provide me some of their proposals and recommendations. I’ll be reviewing them. And, you know, my expectation is that fairly soon, I’ll be considering what the next steps are.”
Obama said he’s “unequivocal” about the need for immigration reform, but has an “overriding preference” to see Congress act first. “We had bipartisan action in the Senate. The House Republicans have sat on it for over a year. That has damaged the economy,” he said. “It has held America back. It is a mistake.”
“And in the absence of congressional action, I intend to take action to make sure that we’re putting more resources on the border, that we’re upgrading how we process these cases, and that we find a way to encourage legal immigration and give people some path, so that they can start paying taxes, and then pay a fine and learn English and be able to not look over their shoulder but be legal, since they’ve been living here for quite some time.”
He added that “on my flight back, this’ll be part of my reading, taking a look at some of the specifics that we’ve looked at.”
“And I’ll be making an announcement soon,” Obama said.
“But I want to be very clear: My intention is, in the absence of — in the absence of action by Congress, I’m going to do what I can do within the legal constraints of my office, because it’s the right thing to do for the country.”